Iloilo is a province of the Philippines famous for its remarkable tourist spots. It is one of the Tourism Hub in the county which most of its destinations were featured in local and international travel magazines and agencies. The most visited tourist attractions in the province includes pristine islands, pure white sand beaches, historical churches and museums among the rest. As the 7th richest provinces in the country, tourists may choose stay from budget to high-end hotels and resorts.
The province of Iloilo belongs to the Western Visayas Region situated on the southeast part of Panay Island. It is bordered by Capiz (north), Guimaras Strait (east), Iloilo Strait & Panay Gulf (southwest) and Antique (west). More than 2,300,000 total residents of the province speak in Ilonggo, Kinaray-a, Filipino and English Languages. Iloilo City is its capital.
If you are planning a solo adventure or a family vacation, Iloilo offers vast options of places to visit. Check out the most popular tourist spots in Iloilo below.
1. Cabugao Gamay
Cabugao Gamay is one of the best tourist spots in Iloilo which is part of Islas de Gigantes, an archipelago on the northern portion of the province. Coined as the “Selfie Island“, it is the most photographed island in Islas de Gigantes. It features a hill covered with thick vegetation and a rock formation on one end while both are being connected by a spectacular sandbar dotted with coconut trees. Atop the rock formation serves as the viewing area that offers 360° view of the entire island, neighboring islands and the vast sea.
Cabugao Gamay is located in Islas de Gigantes, Carles, Iloilo.
2. Tangke Lagoon
Tangke Lagoon is an enchanting tourist destination in the province of Iloilo. It is a natural saltwater lagoon or pool hidden in the steep cliffs on the southern tip of Gigantes Sur, one of the largest islands that comprises Islas de Gigantes. It is a wide lagoon with emerald clear waters suitable for swimming while the area is surrounded by picturesque rock formations with notable greenery. The natural lagoon is being fed by sea water through a small opening which the water volume depends on the tide (sea levels). Outside the lagoon over the limestone karst are some perfect sites for cliff jumping down the sea water below.
Tangke Lagoon is situated in Islas de Gigantes, Carles, Iloilo.
3. Antonia Beach
Antonia Beach is one of the most visited tourist spots in Iloilo found on the eastern portion of Gigantes Sur. It is a popular white sand beach in the province which features a wide white sandbar with a rock formation at its tip. It shares very similar feature as of Cabugao Gamay Island. The beach is surrounded with emerald clear waters abundant in coral reefs and marine life suitable for swimming and snorkeling. Moreover, it is a famous campsite on Islas de Gigantes where visitors can catch the best views of sunrise and sunset. Visitors may also buy seafood for lunch such as oysters, crabs, scallops and famous Wasay-Wasay.
Antonia Beach is located in Islas de Gigantes, Carles, Iloilo.
4. Pawikan Cave
On the southern tip of Gigantes Sur is a unique cave with an intriguing folk story behind, the Pawikan Cave. It was named after the huge turtle egg-shaped rock formation found before on its deep chambers. According the local folk stories, the turtle egg-shaped rocks served as markers to the hidden treasures by the Japanese Imperial Army which were believed to be a part of Yamashita Treasure. The cave features a huge entrance chamber, outstanding rock formations and numerous chambers lit up by several openings on the ceiling. The 30 minute hike may be challenging but exploring the cave and hearing its story from the local guide will be worth it.
Pawikan Cave is situated in Islas de Gigantes, Carles, Iloilo.
5. Bulubadiangan Island
Bulubadiangan Island is one of the famous tourist spots in Iloilo. It is a part of Conception Islands, a group of islands in the northern portion of the province facing the Visayan Sea. The main attraction of the island is its shifting white sandbar surrounded by calm, turquoise and crystal clear waters. On top of that, the beachfront offers a fascinating view of the nearby islands including the scenic view of Mount Manaphag in Pan de Acuzar Island. The only resort in this privately owned island is Sandbar Island Beach Resort that offers cottages and nipa huts for visitors. Many considered this as one of the unspoiled and charming islands of the province.
Bulubadiangan Island is located in Conception, Iloilo.
6. Agho Island
Agho Island is a 8-hectare piece of island paradise in the province of Iloilo. It is a privately owned and uninhabited island which is a part of Conception Islands. The island is composed of lush greens that tropical birds such as sea hawks and Tabon birds made it their home. The beachfront features a lovely golden sand with a shifting sandbar. At the backside of the island are rock formations and a short strip of coral beach. The azure colored sea surrounding the island is teeming with corals, giant clams and other marine life perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Closed and open cottages are available on the island.
Agho Island is situated in Conception, Iloilo.
7. Marbuena Island
Marbuena Island is one of the most popular tourist spots in Iloilo, a private island resort best for relaxation. It is blessed with white sand beach, flora and fauna, panoramic views and azure blue waters. It has a white sand beach with a spectacular sandbar that extends about hundred meters on low tide. Another great feature of the island is its “nature trail” that circles the whole island where some sites offers panoramic sights of the nearby islands and looming mountains including Mount Manaphag in Pan de Acuzar Island and Mount Kanlaon in Negros Occidental. The island resort has excellent facilities and amenities. They can also arrange island hopping tours to the neighboring islands.
Marbuena Island is located in Ajuy, Iloilo.
8. Sicogon Island
Sicogon Island is a paradise island in Iloilo that was used to be frequented by foreign and local tourists with sprawling resorts but sadly, the operations stopped on 1970’s-80’s. This inhabited island never lost its charm and is still a promising tourism hub in Iloilo. Mount Opao, an imposing bare rock summit, is one of the best trekking and sightseeing destination on the island that offers panoramic view of the entire island and nearby islands. Moreover, Buaya Beach is the most visited white sand beach on the island best for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. Balay Kogon is the popular accommodation on the island.
Sicogon Island is situated in Carles, Iloilo.
9. Santo Tomas de Villanueva Church
Miagao Church, also known as Santo Tomas de Villanueva Church, is one of the fascinating tourist spots in Iloilo. The church is one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in the Philippines which was built on 1797 made of adobe, eggs, corals and limestone thus giving it an ochre color. It has an impressive facade with note-worthy designs such bas-relief coconut tree depicting the “tree of life“, images of the saints and native flora and fauna. Moreover, it has two unequal bell towers position on both sides while the most imposing structure on the interior of the church is its golden coated retablo. This is one of the most impressive churches and historical landmarks on the province.
Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church is located in Miag-ao, Iloilo.
10. Museo Iloilo
Museo Iloilo houses collection of historical and cultural displays in the province of Iloilo. The building itself is an attention grabbing elegant structure while the inside is full of artifacts and fossils, religions images and statues, as well as paintings and sculptures. Displays inside the museum includes pottery, jewelry, war relics, parts of Britain’s sunken ship, tradeware from China, Annam and Siam, Carbon-q4 dated remains of Mondo tribe including their swords and spears and numerous relics. Some displays might be creepy for some visitors but for the one’s eager in history, this museum has a lot to showcase.
Museo Iloilo is situated in Iloilo City, Iloilo.